IPG’s Bell Retires

NEW YORK Interpublic Group co-chairman David Bell, the former holding company CEO who was replaced a year ago by Michael Roth, is retiring from his post, effective immediately, IPG said today.

Bell, who left IPG’s board of directors in November, will continue to be available to the company as a part-time consultant for five years, according to IPG. He will also carry the title of chairman emeritus.

“We appreciate his many contributions and are pleased that he will continue to be available to assist us on specific industry or client initiatives,” said IPG CEO Michael Roth, in a statement. “We wish him well.”

Bell, 62, joined IPG in 2001, via the company’s $1.6 billion purchase of True North Communications, where he was CEO.

In February 2003, Bell replaced John Dooner in the top job at IPG. At the time, Bell was a vice chairman. The change came after IPG revealed that it had a $181.3 million accounting imbalance, chiefly among offices of McCann Erickson in Europe. The discrepancy triggered a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation that has since expanded and continues today.

Bell’s tenure as CEO lasted about two years. Roth, a board member who rose to operating chairman and then CEO, took the reins in January 2005.

“I am pleased to have been in a position to step into the leadership role at Interpublic during a difficult time,” Bell said, also in a statement, adding, “I have many passions outside of the business, to which I look forward to devoting more time and energy.”